Tripped Up

20 Oct

Letterbalm Suitcase with Travel StickersDear LetterBalm: Now that I’m retired, I’m traveling and having a great time seeing the world and meeting interesting people. I take tours, mostly, because for a woman traveling alone, they offer safety, convenience and transportation. My closest friend has asked me many times if we can travel together. She has income and can afford to pay her way. The trouble is, she’s demanding, snobbish and entitled, and she runs me ragged in everyday life. I know she’ll over-research every aspect of a prospective trip and judge everything to death while we’re on it. So far, I’ve been able to discourage her, but I’m running out of excuses. There’s no way I’ll ever take a trip with her because I’ll be miserable. I need to leave her at home, permanently.

–Footloose

One has to ask why you’re such good friends with this woman. But let’s assume you and she go way back, and you don’t want to end your friendship with her. Your goal should be pleasant traveling without her. If you’ve used every excuse in the book, and she still won’t take no for an answer, you must be firm. Ms. L.B. takes the view that planning a trip and taking it is a very personal statement – not the least because the traveler is paying for the privilege. Sit your friend down for coffee and say this (and, if you ever decide to take a trip with a more agreeable companion, you better have an excuse God will accept or your friendship is over):

Lorena, you’ve been pressing me to include you in my travel plans – you’ve asked me more than once. I’ve been saying no to the point where we’re both uncomfortable, and you’re disappointed. You need to understand once and for all that I prefer to travel alone. I gladly pay to take tours because they offer safety and convenience and give me an opportunity to meet new people. I like not having to worry because everything is taken care of. I can relax. And, I don’t have to worry about whether a friend is having a good time or not. Call me selfish, but traveling is one of the true pleasures in my life now, and I won’t change anything about it. Dear, please don’t take it personally, and please don’t ask me again. If you want to see new places, why don’t you plan a trip of your own?

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